It is the people of Dhaka who continue suffering, breathing in the toxic fumes that these kilns expel
It remains distressing that, as winter descends upon Bangladesh, instead of enjoying the cooler weather and being encouraged to spend more time outdoors, the terrible air quality has always proven to be a detractor in doing so.
While remaining indoors may be the preferred option this winter in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the fact remains that air pollution continues to be one of the biggest issues facing the major cities in the country, in particular the capital Dhaka.
It is the same story every year, and the Air Quality Index (AQI) numbers measured this year indicate that, despite the ongoing pandemic, when it comes to Dhaka’s toxic air, there is no respite for the people.
While there remain several culprits that contribute to this most serious of problems, the chief perpetrator time and time again has been identified to be the brick kilns that surround Dhaka, and often operate illegally with zero regards for regulation and safety.Once again, while every year, we hear about cracking down on these violators -- eight illegally-operated brick kilns have been fined a total of Tk62 lakh recently in Gazipur -- these attempts remain mere drops in the ocean, hardly bringing noteworthy change.
Instead, these feeble attempts at stopping the violators only have served to embolden them, and it is the people of Dhaka who continue suffering, breathing in the toxic fumes that these kilns expel.
When can we expect the authorities concerned to get serious with this issue? The catastrophic effects on health due to air pollution are well documented, and unless we have zero tolerance for these polluters, the future health of the country’s citizens looks to be extremely grim.